Meet the Fret Zealot instructors – Todd Porter

In this new series, we’re introducing you to the Fret Zealot instructors! Fret Zealot has dozens of teachers with unique backgrounds and styles, so that you can find the one who’s right for you. 


Name: Todd Porter

How long have you played guitar?
30 years.

What got you into guitar?
My uncle and brother played.

Why are you passionate about music?
I love the feeling of being in the moment with other people making new music.

Why are you passionate about music?
I love the feeling of being in the moment with other people making new music.

What’s your favorite style of music to play on guitar? 
Check out some of Todd’s courses and song lessons below!


One-hit wonders who rocked

Sept. 25 is National One-Hit Wonder Day. Here’s a list of some bands that made it big – just briefly. 


‘Tainted Love’ by Soft Cell (1982)

The song “Tainted Love” was originally recorded in 1964 by American artist Gloria Jones. Originally a commercial flop, the single was purchased by British DJ Richard Searling in 1973 while on a trip to the U.S. Searling played the track in clubs in Northern England, where the “Northern soul” movement was popular.

English vocal-and-synth duo Soft Cell recorded a version of the track in 1981, which shot to the top of the UK charts and then the U.S. charts as well – staying 43 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, a record at that time.

In 2006, Rihanna’s “S.O.S.” sampled the iconic hook of the song.


‘Eye of the Tiger’ by Survivor, 1982

Sylvester Stallone wanted to use Queen’s song “Another One Bites the Dust” as the theme song for Rocky III. When Queen declined, Stallone asked American rock band Survivor to write a song for the movie. The result was “Eye of the Tiger” – their best-selling hit of all time. It spent 15 back-to-back weeks in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100.

‘What’s Up?’ by 4 Non Blondes, 1993

The phrase “What’s Up” doesn’t actually appear in the lyrics for thi song – it was given the name “What’s Up” so that record stores wouldn’t confuse the track with “What’s Going On” by Marvin Gaye. The all-woman band only produced one record – “Bigger, Better, Faster, More!” in 1992 before breaking up in 1994. Founder and vocalist Linda Perry went on to have a very successful songwriting career, writing hit songs for Christina Aguilera, Pink, Gwen Stefani, and other artists. 


‘Tubthumping’ by Chumbawamba (1997)

British rock band Chumbawamba credited a pub for the inspiration for “Tubthumping”. The band was living in Leeds at the time, near a bar called “Fforde Grene”, and had a next-door neighbor who would patronize the bar every weekend, falling down drunk while trying to get back into his house. 


‘Take On Me’ by A-ha (1985)

Norwegian synth-pop band achieved huge success with their 1985 hit “Take On Me” – largely thanks to the song’s creative music video, which featured a live-action animation sequence. The video took six months to create and took home six awards at the 1986 MTV Video Music Awards.

‘La Bamba’ by Los Lobos, 1987

Los Lobos covered “La Bamba” – a Mexican folk song, famously recorded by Ritchie Valens in 1958 – for Valens’ 1987 biopic, La Bamba. Los Lobos’ version was the fourth non-English language song to top the Billboard Hot 100.


Meet the Fret Zealot instructors – John Robson

In this new series, we’re introducing you to the Fret Zealot instructors! Fret Zealot has dozens of teachers with unique backgrounds and styles, so that you can find the one who’s right for you. 


Name: John Robson

How long have you played guitar?

45 years. 


What got you into guitar?

Hearing Hank Marvin for the first time. 


Why are you passionate about music?



Who is your favorite band/artist? 

Gary Moore. 


What’s your favorite style of music to play on guitar? 

Blues & Classic Rock. 


Check out some of John’s courses and song lessons below! 


Making the Modes Easy! Pro Lead Guitar Course

Play Lead Guitar… The EASY Way!

Song lessons 



Take Me Home, Country Roads 

Norwegian Wood

Want to learn how to play guitar like Jack White?

Check out this Jack White Player Study Course, and you’ll be shredding like the White Stripes and Raconteurs guitarist in no time!



Jack White was born John Anthony Gillis in Detroit, Mich. in 1975. He was the youngest of ten children, and his earliest musical influences growing up were his older brothers, who were in a band called Catalyst. He started playing the drums in first grade after finding a kit in the family’s attic. While in elementary school, he started listening to bands like the Doors, Pink Floyd, and Led Zeppelin.

As a teen, Jack started listening to the blues music and 1960s rock that would inform the sound of The White Stripes. Accepted into a seminary as a high schooler, he could have ended up becoming a priest – but he chose to go to a public high school instead, concerned that the seminary wouldn’t let him bring his new amplifier.

While attending high school, Jack played drums and trombone in band. He had an upholstery apprenticeship with a family friend who he credits for exposing him to punk rock music. They played music together, recording an album as “The Upholsterers”.

Following his apprenticeship, Jack actually opened an upholstery business of his own, but Jack claims his creative approaches -including making bills out in crayon and writing poetry inside the furniture – made it unprofitable. At 19, he had his first professional musician job as a drummer for the band “Goober & The Peas”. The band broke up in 1996, the same year Jack married Meg White, taking her last name. Meg learned to play the drums and the couple began performing as The White Stripes. They put out six albums before disbanding in 2011.

Jack has also put out music with The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, as well as solo albums. He co-founded Third Man Records in 2001.


“Jack White Photo 2021” by David James Swanson is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Jack has a unique style that showcases his influences – blues music and garage rock. He prefers vintage guitars, as well as analog recording equipment and methods. His home studio in Nashville consists of just two rooms and two pieces of equipment: a Neve mixing console and two Studer A800 2-inch 8-track tape recorders. 



Jack has been nominated for 33 GRAMMY Awards and has won 12. He was awarded the title of “Nashville Music City Ambassador” in 2011. 

Once you learn Jack’s signature style, put it to work with this song lesson! 


Seven Nation Army


Meet the Fret Zealot instructors – Julian Cooper

In this new series, we’re introducing you to the Fret Zealot instructors! Fret Zealot has dozens of teachers with unique backgrounds and styles, so that you can find the one who’s right for you. 


Name: Julian Cooper 

AKA: GuitarJoolz 

How long have you played guitar?

32 years. 


What got you into guitar?

Van Halen, Jimi Hendrix, Randy Rhoads, Malmsteen, Blackmore, Lynch and my Dad. 


Why are you passionate about music?

It is creative and gives me a way to express myself. It can be exhilarating or soothing as needed.


Who is your favorite band/artist? 

Not possible to pick, but if I had to: Led Zeppelin. 


What’s your favorite style of music to play on guitar? 



Check out some of Julian’s courses and song lessons below!

Pure Pentatonic Power: Rock and Blues Lead Guitar Course

Easy Rock Guitar for Beginners

Easy Barre Chords


Song lessons 

Can’t Stop


Be Yourself

You Give Love a Bad Name


REVIEW: Yamaha Revstar Element RSE20

We reviewed Yamaha’s Revstar Element RSE20 electric guitar. 

It’s available in our store! 

Check out the review below: 


Here’s a transcript of the review: 


Today we’re demoing the Revstar Element series. They’re brand new in our shop, and we’re super excited to have these guitars in stock. These are ones that we’ve been looking at for a long time, and a super unique guitar from the electric Yamaha range.  This is the Element – this is the entry-level Revstar guitar, but the bar is set high with the Revstar line and the Element really delivers. It’s a super well-playing and well-constructed guitar. It has, through and through, the Yamaha quality and attention to the features, and the pricing that we really appreciate. 

They do such a good job of delivering consistency and high quality, and that holds true really well with this new Revstar unit. These guitars really have a particular aesthetic.  I mean this one really jumps out, right? They actually come in a really sweet variety of colors. This is the yellow, we also have it in black,  blue, and white, so it really covers the range of different vibes that you would want, from sort of more dialed back and mysterious,  to this one which I really love.  This neon yellow goes absolutely crazy. Kudos to Yamaha for making some really great and unique color choices that match the uniqueness of this guitar. 

It’s got a really distinct body shape.  It’s somewhat like an offset double cutaway guitar. I don’t even know what I could really compare this to – you know there are other guitars that are out there that might have a similar sort of look to it,  but the Revstar really is sort of in a league of its own.  They are really nicely contoured with chambering in the body which make it very nicely balanced and a really just comfortable weight, so I like that a lot. Contouring on the back and on the front as well is just a little bit here for your armrest, and these guitars also feature a double racing stripe up the middle,  which I think looks fantastic.  It sort of hearkens back to the automotive, and I know it kind of is inspired by vintage motorcycle aesthetic, so I really can’t argue with that. It’s super cool set-neck construction, so it’s got a really nice neck joint meets up with the body here, and it’s got just easy access all the way up to the 22nd fret with jumbo fret, and the first real major difference maker to me that I noticed when I picked up this guitar was actually the paint treatment.  The finish treatment on the neck – I really am not sure what this is but it is different from the glossy finish on the body, so on the neck it’s more of a matte finish which is just so comfortable. Your hand doesn’t stick to it or slide around on it the same way that it would with a glossy finish.  This matte is just so super comfortable, and it kind of reminds me of just lightly finished treated wood. I don’t know what they’re doing to get this textured matte finish on it, but it really does a good job. 

It’s got a a substantial neck size, very comfortable –  not like a thin neck profile, it’s more of like a C shape, but again, pretty unique neck profile. I guess I could maybe make the comparison to sort of like an SG type of neck profile, but it really takes on its own sort of thing with the connection with the body joint and the feel of the neck with the treatment. It’s super comfortable playing guitar, 22 jumbo frets, a rosewood fingerboard, and then the guitar is made of mahogany with chambering to balance it out and give it some nice resonance. 

It’s a really great body design. This is actually the slightly updated version of the Revstar. It’s just got a slightly different profile than the original release. Yamaha made some improvements with the release of this current version of the Revstar. Chambered mahogany is a really great wood choice and it’s super stable and very resonant and sturdy. I just love the construction throughout with the full mahogany and the set neck joint. Jumbo frets too are just a really needed feature. I really appreciate having that on most of my modern instruments. All of the Revstars use a Tune-O-Matic style bridge. They also have these kind of cool tuners with it’s sort of like a resin tuning peg which just looks nice. 

Onto the electronics – these are all NI5 focus mid-range and sort of a full spectrum humbucker. 

It’s  just like a standard kind of humbucker sound that will do everything that you need a humbucker to do, and I’ll do some different tones as well to kind of give you a sense of the sound, but I wanted to really feature just how nice and kind of bright they sound. You know, playing clean and that’s really what I look for in a good instrument, one that’s going to respond well to my playing and reward me for good technique and that’s what these pickups do. 

They sound clear throughout – you know, all of the different notes, the chords, the low, low ones pick up great.  The higher notes come out perfectly, and then what you get from there is the ability to access your different combinations. It’s got a three-way selector switch. 


Here are the reasons you should learn to play guitar

If you’ve always wanted to play guitar, but couldn’t justify taking the time to learn, here are some of the reasons you should take the plunge this season. 


Playing guitar is good for your health

Playing an instrument has multiple health benefits – it’s been proven to help with blood pressure, pain relief, and stress relief, and can even help keep your mind sharp! 


It gives you an outlet for creative expression 

Learning guitar will help you tap into your own creative potential, which helps you think outside of the box even in non-musical situations.. Learning other people’s songs might even help inspire you to write your own songs!

It’s a good way to get involved in your local music scene

Playing guitar at local open mic nights is a great way to meet other new musicians.  You may even find other musicians and start a band! 


Playing guitar will improve your hand-eye coordination 

Learning guitar can be a slow process because you’re training the muscles in both of your hands to do something completely different than they’re used to. Keep practicing at it and you’ll improve your overall hand-eye coordination! 


It’s a huge confidence booster. 

Whether your goal is to be a guitar shredder or just accompany yourself while you sing, learning a skill like guitar will boost your self-esteem and become a source of pride. 


It’s fun!

Nothing feels better than learning a song that you love on guitar. Playing guitar is more exciting than watching TV or scrolling through Instagram, and you’ll love the learning process. 


Fret Zealot makes the guitar learning experience easier by putting it in the palm of your hand. 

Choose from 3,500 song lessons, more than 100 courses, 250,000 song tabs, and every note, scale and tab. Learn guitar when you have the time, in a way that makes sense to you.

REVIEW: Yamaha FGX800C acoustic/electric guitar

We reviewed Yamaha’s FGX800C acoustic/electric guitar. 

It’s available in our store! 


Check out the review below! 


Here’s a transcript of the review: 


Today we’re taking a look at the Yamaha FGX800C.  This is a fantastic Yamaha acoustic from the FG line, and the FG line has been known since 1966 as a tried and true folk guitar design – thus, FG, folk guitar. That said, these guitars go beyond just the scope of folk music – they’re really universal and they’re fantastic instruments for the price. Yamaha has really proven themselves as a company that can deliver consistency and quality.  That’s why these guitars are some of the best sellers in our shop.  They’re always really nice performing, never have issues with the FG Series, be it the FG800 or in this case the premium – the really nice FGX800C and the differences that you get with this guitar are some of the really nice modern updates to a classic acoustic guitar.

This FGX800C has a single cutaway design as you can see fantastic access and look and feel that you get from this cutaway design. It has a dreadnought body, so a really full size but still very comfortable acoustic guitar body.  The top is Sitka Spruce, which is a really sought after wood for acoustic guitars.  It’s very resonant.  It has scalloped bracing underneath which adds a lot of nice movement and you can really hear it resonate with the low end. In addition to that, it’ll only build character over time.  These guitars are extremely durable, and as you play through and continue to break into the wood, you get a little bit more vibrancy from the tone of that guitar.  For some reason old guitars just sound great and so this is a really good amazing wood choice that will give you longevity and really clear and beautiful tones. 

Throughout the rest of the guitar neck material on the fretboard is actually walnut – same with the bridge, walnut, and then throughout the rest of the guitar we have the sides and the neck made of nato, which is a unique wood. It’s really rich in color, very sturdy, and on the back of the neck we actually have a very smooth, somewhat satiny feel.  It’s very comfortable and not overly glossy.  I’m not getting stuck to it if my hands are a little bit moist or anything like that. It’s a very comfortable neck. This is somewhat of a thin profile, so it’s really easy to hang on to if it’s your first acoustic guitar.  I think you’ll find it very comfortable and approachable if you’re a long time player.  It’s a fun neck to play on because it’s just so comfortable – kind of easy going as far as the size, not too big or cumbersome, easy to press down on the frets.  

Out of the box, it has pretty nice action, so I’m really happy with the playability of this instrument. Right out of the gate, it has black binding throughout, but another key feature that you get with the FGX800C is actually the electronics.  This is the Yamaha System 66 Electronics, which includes the 66 pickup inside the guitar.  We’ll demo the plugged in sound as well. So far we’ve been using a microphone to capture the tone of the acoustic, the acoustic properties of this guitar, but you can plug this in and play it through a PA system or an amp.  We have the the audio jack right here on the strap on the side and then the controls are up here on the top where you can access them.  It’s got a master volume control, a three band EQ that’s controls for the low, mid, and high frequencies. It’s got a tuner as well,  which is really just very nice to have. Easy, quick to use – you just press the button to access the tuner and tune up you know all in one. This guitar does everything but play itself. It’s got the tuner,  the electronics, even the EQ. The nice cutaway design with the beautiful Yamaha wood selections. Chrome tuners.  We have the strap connect connection point here.  I don’t see an additional strap strap lock on this part of the guitar, sometimes they put them there, sometimes they don’t. I think for me with my acoustic guitars, I prefer to use the method of using the one strap button on the bottom of the guitar and then using some strapping or a piece of string that’s strong enough to fasten it up here on the headstock. It just makes the guitar feel a bit more balanced when you’re standing and playing but also very comfortable to play and sit with.  Like I said, comfortable body shape. It’s a Dreadnought but it’s not overly big – which is known as a slightly larger body style,  but not as huge not as big as they do get. It’s kind of more on the medium side. I couldn’t forget as well when we’re talking about the electronics this guitar uses two AA batteries. I don’t know the battery life,  I think it may depend on how long you spend plugged in, but for an acoustic guitar I think you can expect these to last quite a long time, especially if you’re not playing plugged in exclusively. These batteries will last quite a while. They’re easy to change, you just press the lever and then it pops out, and you can change your two AA batteries and slide it back in. 

If I were to get this guitar, there would be maybe a couple reasons for getting an FGX800C.  I would definitely consider this guitar for like  an “all the time” playing guitar.  I find it really comfortable. I find it really approachable and also sort of diverse. 

It’s got a really rich tone that would sound great for things like bluegrass, folk,  even like rock if you wanted an acoustic guitar for your rock music.  I think this guitar really delivers for anything really that you would want a steel string, six-string acoustic guitar for, especially with the cutaway.  It’s super comfortable and I would choose Yamaha for the reliability.  They’re so consistent in the manufacturing quality of these guitars. I’ve worked on so many FG model Yamahas and I’ve always found them so consistent and so reliable, so I really do give props to Yamaha for being able to deliver that at this price point. 

This is not the cheapest Yamaha available.  it’s a little bit more due to the extra appointments, such as the cutaway design, the scallop bracing,  which is a really nice update.  Of course you get the electronics as well – that’s the difference between the cheapest available.  Many of them do not have electronics, so if you’re looking for an acoustic that has a pickup,  I would highly recommend this one.  Again, if that’s what you’re looking for in an acoustic guitar: reliability,  the ability to play different styles and genres while also being very comfortable –  I think that’s a great feature. Even as an intermediate to advanced player,  just having a comfortable neck, there’s nothing wrong with that. 

If you’re looking for a guitar with a pickup, you’re definitely going to want to consider the FGX800. We also have the FG800, which is another team favorite which does not feature some of those extra appointments, but Yamaha is doing a great job of providing a variety of different instruments to suit a variety of needs at a good price point. 


Don’t leave home without these guitar accessories

Heading out to jam with friends, play an open mic, or perform at a gig?

Don’t leave without taking these four items with you: 

Guitar pick 

Guitar picks are so tiny, they’re easy to forget – but you don’t want to have to strum without it! Most guitarists have a specific type of pick they prefer, so make sure you have the type of pick you like the best with you before you leave. Always leave an extra pick or two inside of your guitar case. 


Being in tune is crucial to sounding your best, and meshing with other musicians. Make sure your guitar kit includes a tuner – you can buy a clip-on version, or use the tuning function in the Fret Zealot app. 

If you’re playing in alternate tunings, the Fret Zealot app has every tuning available – right in the app! 


A guitar capo is especially useful if you’re playing with a singer and need to easily transpose the key of a song. It’s a clamp that goes onto the guitar neck to act as a “barre”, raising the pitch of the strings.

Guitar strap

Playing with a guitar strap will make it easier to stand up while you’re playing. It will stabilize the guitar against your body so that you can focus on playing, and not worry about accidentally dropping your instrument. 

@fret_zealot Don’t leave home without these! #Guitar #GuitarTok #Guitarist #Musician #FretZealot #stereotypes ♬ original sound – Fret Zealot

What is “guitar action”?

A term you may have heard in guitar conversations is “action”. When referring to guitar, “action” means more than just a really intense shredding session. 

Guitar “action” refers to the height of the guitar strings over the fretboard. Action has a huge impact on a guitar’s playability, feel and sound. 

If a guitar’s action is too high, it will be difficult to play (especially for a guitar learner). 

If a guitar’s action is too low, the strings will buzz. 

To make sure that your guitar’s action is right, you’ll want to measure it. Make sure your guitar i in tune first, so that all of the strings have the correct tension.

You’ll need an action gauge if you have access to one, or a ruler. 

Rest the measuring instrument against the guitar’s 12th fret, holding it against the string. Measure the space between the top of the fret and the bottom of the guitar string. 

Individual guitar makers will have recommendations for guitar action, so check with your guitar maker’s website to see what your ideal action should be. 

Here are some general guidelines: 


Low Action: Electric guitar: 1.00mm on the high E, acoustic guitar: 1.5mm on the high E

High Action: Electric guitar: 1.65mm on the high E, acoustic guitar: 2.3mm on the high E

@fret_zealot What is your guitar’s “action”? Find out here! #Guitar #GuitarLesson #Guitarist #GuitarTok #FretZealot ♬ Storytelling – Adriel